On challenging thoughts, and the day after fishing

Challenging my thoughts as a form of therapy is nothing new.  That being said, you must be open to the concept in order for it to work.  If CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) had been introduced to me when I first went through therapy, I would have been very skeptical, and it would have failed.

Now I’m using CBT and finding success in challenging my thoughts. My counsellor keeps stressing that I need to let her know if it’s not working so we can try something else. And it is working. It’s just slow going because I’m not just dealing with one problem.

And the reason CBT is working so well, put in simple terms by my uncle (bless him), is that they are just thoughts.

I am angry, I am sad, I am an idiot, I am worthless.

I am angry, no. I feel the emotion called anger.

I am sad, no. I feel the emotion called sadness.

I am an idiot, no. I am not an idiot, I just think I am at this moment.

I am worthless, no. I am not worthless, I just think I am right now.

Emotions and thoughts and feelings are a valid part of who we are, and should not be ignored; however putting them into perspective as ‘just thoughts’ and ‘valid, but just feelings’ helps me to realize that they are just a single part of everything that makes up ‘ME’.

I am more than just my thoughts and emotions. I have dreams, goals, hobbies, strange fascinations that are unique to me.  I have feelings and emotions, but I need to remember that they don’t have me.  Yes, they are real; I am the one in the drivers seat, and I need to tell the petulant children to calm the fuck down.

CBT has been slow going, but I do see it helping. I can feel it helping, because my thoughts are more and more in my control, rather than the other way around.  It’s not perfect, I still cry at the drop of a pin these days, depression is still a big factor, and therapy takes time.  I see the difference more in my levels of anxiety that flared up during my fight with chronic illness.  This social anxiety that makes me perceive that everyone is staring and judging me for my actions, looks, and even my thoughts. 

I can ignore, and sometimes even silence, that little demon that makes me analyze every look, perceived look, and emotion that I think passes across a person’s face when I interact or accidentally look at them.  I can tell it to quiet down, because as much as I am involved with thinking how other people perceive me, either they are doing the same thing of me, or they are too wrapped up in their own troubles/life to worry about me.

This is logic, but sometimes it’s logic that needs to be hammered in. With a sledgehammer. And then a wrecking ball for good measure ^_^

Unpleasant but pleasantness aside, Fishing!  I am so sore after spending the day on the boat yesterday. 8am-5pm on the boat, awake too early because I had to skip the sleeping pills due to a late night socializing with some friends, and then dinner after, because I turned another year older yesterday.  Woo.

Pain level is about a 5, which, thanks to housework on Monday, fishing yesterday, and two 1.5 hour long drives ahead of me today, is probably not going to decrease until Saturday.  It doesn’t happen often because I’ve been super careful to NOT get this way (I hate pain, and I need my recovery times) so I’m not entirely worried, but I do know I need to be very careful today when driving.  Aside from typing (I should be using speech-text but its 6:15 am and this keyboard is already as loud as a friggin typewriter) and the occasional fishing trip (those are not a common pain causer lol) driving is another thing that seems to be angry pain causing. 

 I love to drive, so the trip itself is very soothing and I usually just sing my throat raw (car karaoke, love it when its just me!) but the amount of pain it causes is phenomenal for something so low impact.  I’m guessing it has to do with the grip on the steering wheel, because it only takes 5 minutes for my hands to get aggravated.  I’m lucky they are within functional and safe limits for dealing with driving through the long stretch of highway that has nothing between my town and the next except wildlife and some rest stops, most of the time, I am going to be extremely careful today because the elevated pain will probably affect my reflexes.  Heaven forbid I come across anything larger than a squirrel on my drive today, hopefully no one decides to be an ass and tailgate me half the way like last time -_- people are such idiots on the highway.

I am excited to see my uncle again today, we finally have a bit in common (writing and literary works, and then he can relate on a counselling level, which wasn’t my intention but he has a natural want to ask questions, hence being a counsellor lol) so it was great to have some real, solid conversations with him that weren’t awkward because we had that common ground. I have to remember to get some info from him about certain authors so I can look them up.

So yay, off to the races. Family get together and some tutoring. Yeehaw!

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